Being from the South, I'm familiar with family style dinners. Any given Sunday you could find us feasting around a big table on those southern staples such as fried chicken, buttery biscuits and collard greens. Plates would be passed around, and around, until everyone had accumulated a massive mountain of savory grub amidst their plates. Soon afterwards, with bellies full and clothing buttons on the cusp of bursting, out came the desserts. Cobblers, crumbles and cakes made their way around the table. But I knew better. I knew not to fill that last pocket of stomach space with any of that warm, baked baloney. I had experience. I knew what frosty fare awaited me in the fridge. Then somebody would make that first move. They grabbed the handle, flung open the door and unveiled that transparent serving bowl. The lavish layers of blonde pudding, white whipped cream and vast amounts of vanilla wafers peer back at me through the glass. I'd spoon myself a hefty helping and proceed on my way to banana pudding pleasure.
Blue Bell has made it easy for those of us that don’t have access to the real thing by rolling out their Banana Pudding ice cream. This pint of premium banana ice cream perfectly blended together with whipped topping and vanilla wafers manages to come in at a more than reasonable 170 calories per serving, which means nearly anyone can fit a few servings into their diet. After removing the gold-rimmed lid, the first layer shows all the ingredients, especially the swirling banana ice cream and whipped topping sitting on the surface. The banana base was sweet, just heavy enough to remain relevant and would serve as a great foundation to build upon.
The amount of whipped topping stuffed inside is nearly the same as the base itself and is able to texturally contrast the ice cream with its light and fluffy feel. The final components, the vanilla wafer chunks, are the highlight of this pint just as they are in the real dish. These bits of broken cookie start out with some crunch, but break down and combine with the banana base and whipped cream topping to provide a pretty good impersonation of actual banana pudding. A bite containing all three ingredients is about as good as I could have hoped for, but I’d love to see what a super-premium ice cream company could roll out using the same ingredients.
Where I Found It: Ingles Markets